Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Unprecedented Initiative to Promote American Volunteerism in the Muslim World Announces First Volunteers

Washington DC, May 24, 2011 — Creative Learning, a Washington DC based non-profit organization, is pleased to announce that Alison Horton, from Highland Park, New Jersey and Samantha Faulkner, from Lawrenceberg, Kentucky are the first winners of the America’s Unofficial Ambassadors (AUA) Mosaic Scholarship. Creative Learning launched the AUA initiative in March of 2011 to encourage and support more Americans to volunteer short-term in education, health, and other human development areas in the Muslim World. Through programs that raise awareness and increase access to impactful service opportunities, the AUA initiative is mobilizing Americans to reach across cultural differences, form partnerships of mutual interest, and build peace. By December of 2012, the AUA initiative intends to encourage 1000 Americans to commit to at least one week of service in the Muslim World.

The AUA Mosaic Scholarship will increase the number of volunteers who represent the diverse, social mosaic that is America in the Muslim World. Scholarship recipients volunteer from one week to a year, with an organization listed in the AUA Directory of Recommended Organizations. The AUA Directory provides profiles of leading organizations that send or host American volunteers serving in education, health, and other community needs in Muslim-majority countries. The AUA Directory is the premier resource for researching short-term volunteer opportunities in the Muslim World and is available free of charge at www.unofficialambassadors.com.

Both Alison Horton and Samantha Faulkner will depart the United States in June. Each was chosen from a competitive field based upon their essay submissions, commitment to service, and personal interviews. Ms. Horton will serve as a volunteer in Bangladesh through the BRAC organization; and Ms. Faulkner will volunteer in the Palestinian Territories through the Middle East Fellowship program. As part of the Mosaic Scholarship program, recipients will blog about their volunteer experiences on the AUA blog, and upon their return, give presentations within their communities. These stories and presentations will help shatter stereotypes and raise awareness for the value and impact of service.

AUA Program Director Benjamin Orbach said, “We are thrilled to support these two volunteers who will represent the best of America to communities in South Asia and the Middle East as they support local leaders in grappling with their development challenges. It is equally exciting to think about the impact that these returned volunteers will have in their home communities when they return from their service and share their experiences within their schools, faith groups, and community centers.”

Explaining why she wanted to be a part of AUA’s initiative, Samantha Faulkner said, “I think I could be a good representative of a generally misunderstood part of our country. By eliminating these stereotypes and prejudices in both cultures, we open the door to a new level of tolerance and communication that would certainly not have been possible before. I would be honored to be a part of such a mission.”

From her perspective, Alison Horton emphasized the importance of the AUA initiative by saying, “I’m so thankful for the resources provided to me by America's Unofficial Ambassadors to make this opportunity possible. I'll be working with BRAC, an incredible organization that has achieved unprecedented leaps in school enrollment, childhood immunization, food security, and infant survival in some of the most desperate communities.”

Applications are being accepted for the annual Mosaic Scholarship program through August 31. All qualified American citizens, committed to volunteering in the Muslim World through an organization listed in the AUA Directory, are eligible for the scholarship. For more details about AUA and the Mosaic Scholarship, please visit here.

About Creative Learning
America’s Unofficial Ambassadors is a strategic initiative of Creative Learning, a Washington DC-based not-for-profit organization that enhances the capacity of local organizations around the world to improve the lives of people in their communities. Through the creation of people-to-people partnerships, Creative Learning is especially dedicated to protecting human rights, supporting economic and social development, and building peace. Consistent with the program’s theme that American citizens should do more to make a difference, AUA does not seek government funding. For information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Tracy Key at tracykeyevents at aol.com.

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